Press Release
November 1998


SAN FRANCISCO - Sérgio Mendes, the pianist and bandleader who first took Brazilian music to the masses with his group Brasil '66, flips the calendar to Brasil '99 when his band headlines a spectacular New Year's Eve Show in the Grand Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill on December 31.

Opening the 9 p.m. concert will be the soulful samba sounds of San Francisco's own Vivendo de Pão, described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "the sound that fuses the infectious rhythms of the samba with the harmonic richness of jazz." It's all capped off with a magnificent balloon drop and champagne pour at midnight.

Mendes took the relatively novel concept of interweaving two female singers into a unified lead vocal in 1965 and made it the unmistakable soundprint of Brasil '66, the quintessential leaders of international jet-set cocktail lounge pop.

Certainly a number of U.S. jazz artists, from Quincy Jones to Stan Getz, deserve credit for acquainting global music aficionados with the sounds of Brazil. But helped by a chance encounter with Herb Alpert, Sérgio was the first to take it to the masses.

After playing the clubs in Rio De Janeiro from 1960 to 1965 with The Hot Trio, Sérgio emigrated to the United States after a telegram he received was misconstrued by Brazil's newly-installed military regime as a subversive political communiqué.

Working the L.A. lounge scene with Brazilian-flavored renditions of popular songs of the time by the Beatles and Burt Bacharach, Sérgio's band was discovered and signed by Alpert and his partner Jerry Moss. After a gold-selling debut album, Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66 toured with Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and became a household name.

Through several years of name changes (Brasil '77, Brasil '88), Sérgio never stopped exploring the boundaries of Brazilian pop. He scored a #1 hit in 1983 with "Never Gonna Let You Go," an R&B-flavored pop ballad recorded with singers Joe Pizzulo and Leza Miller. But his acclaimed 1992 album, "Brasileiro," finally gave Sérgio the critical equal to his commercial success. It won a Grammy for deftly blending hip-hop and Brazilian grooves, underscoring the unassailable fact that while Sérgio generally might best be known for his sophisticated '60s sound, his musical career has spanned all genres.

Always looking forward, Sérgio is seldom given to reminiscing about his past. He has no favorite career moments, saying he has enjoyed each of his musical decades. Further, Sérgio is reluctant to reveal just where his legacy fits within the panorama of contemporary music. "But if you listen to recording acts like Basia or Sade," offers Sérgio, "you can hear some of the same things I was doing in the '60s." Tickets to A Night in Brasil '99 are $99 in advance, available at the Fairmont Hotel Holiday Desk (772-5021) and at the Bimbo's 365 Club box office, 1025 Columbus Avenue in San Francisco (474-0365), or at BASS outlets. The show is produced by Brian Martin Productions in association with Bimbo's 365 Club, Eye For Talent and the Bay Area Brasilian Club.

For more information, contact Brian Martin Productions at (415) 775-2107. Bill Smith - Eye for Talent, Inc. PO Box 280786, San Francisco, CA 94128 USA - (650)595-2274 fax 595-2258


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